Education in Hertfordshire

Hertfordshire is one of the most highly performing education authorities in England. Schools consistently achieve standards well above national averages. With an emphasis on wellbeing and inclusivity, Herts schools, settings and trusts enable every child to thrive. Teach in Herts and get a rich, all-round experience!

By choosing to teach in Hertfordshire you can be assured that, if you are committed and ambitious, you will be fully supported throughout your teaching career, whatever your position and whatever your career aspirations.

At the end of October 2023:

91.5% of Herts primary schools were graded good or better

90% of Herts secondary schools were graded good or better

How does it work? The UK’s education system, clear and simple

The British education system is highly regarded around the world, and Hertfordshire schools are some of the highest performing in the country. UK education is broken down into Key Stages for children, as follows:

  • Early Years:  0 to 5 years old
  • Key Stage 1: 5 to 7 years old
  • Key Stage 2: 7 to 11 years old
  • Key Stage 3: 11 to 14 years old
  • Key Stage 4: 14 to 16 years old
  • Key Stage 5: 16 years and older

Key Stage 1 and 2 generally take place within a primary school, with Key Stage 3 and 4 being at a secondary school. Key Stage 5 may be delivered within a school sixth form or college setting for over 16 year olds.

What do I need?

Depending on your area of interest you may choose to undertake teacher training for primary, secondary or early years (0-5).

To work as a teacher, you’ll need to obtain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)  and then complete a period of induction as an Early Career Teacher (ECT).

You will also need to meet stringent safer recruitment criteria including a criminal records check with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). Overseas nationals must also be able to demonstrate that they have the right to work in the UK. We would recommend you look at the government right to work page to check your eligibility.

Where can I teach?

We have a broad and varied range of school types across Hertfordshire, all of which offer a number of opportunities and experiences.

Primary Schools

A primary school teaches children from age 4-11 which includes the foundation stage, KS1 and KS2. The school may also have an onsite nursery provision in which case the children will start at age 3.

Most primary school teachers are required to teach all the subjects within the national curriculum.

In Hertfordshire we have a number of primary schools as described above, but we also have stand-alone nursery schools, as well as separate infant and junior schools covering this age group.

Secondary Schools

Within a secondary school, teachers specialise in one or two subjects from the national curriculum, teaching children aged 11-16. They may also teach 16-18 year olds within the school sixth form.

In addition to these primary and secondary options, we have some all-through schools in Hertfordshire, where children are taught all the way through their education, from age 3-18.

Types of school


Maintained Schools

These are overseen, or ‘maintained’, by the Local Authority - they must follow the national curriculum and national teacher pay and conditions.

Maintained school categories are Community, VA and VC, as detailed below.


controlled and run by the Local Authority. Local Authority employs the staff, owns the land and buildings and determines the admissions arrangements. Governing body has devolved responsibilities for things like finance and personnel. HCC will counter sign Settlements for these in addition to rep/solicitor, GB and employee

Voluntary Aided

The majority of these are faith schools. A foundation or trust (usually a religious organisation) inputs a small proportion of the capital costs for the school and forms a majority on the schools governing body. The Governing Body employs the staff and sets the admissions criteria. The land and buildings are usually owned by the religious organisation

Voluntary Controlled

Like VA schools, but run by the Local Authority The Local Authority employs the staff and sets admissions criteria. The foundation or trust (usually a religious organisation) owns the land and buildings, and usually forms a quarter of the governing body. The Governing Body has devolved responsibilities for things like finance and personnel. HCC will counter sign Settlements for these in addition to rep/solicitor, GB and employee


Run by their Governing Body Governing Body employs the staff and sets its own admissions criteria Land and buildings are usually owned by the Governing Body or by a Trust 


Academies receive funding directly from central government, rather than through the local authority. Academies have more control over how they do things than community schools – such as being able to set their own term dates. They are still inspected by Ofsted and have to follow the same rules on admissions, special education needs and exclusions as other state schools.

Some academies are Single Academy Trusts (SATs), but increasingly many form part of a Multi Academy Trust (MAT) which may be able to share resources, including its staff. 

Free Schools

Free Schools are a type of Academy funded by the government but are run by a private group. This could be a charity, faith group, teachers, parents or businesses. This means they do not have to follow the national curriculum, can set their own pay and conditions for staff, and can change the length of school terms and school day. Free schools are ‘all-ability’ schools so cannot use academic selection processes like a grammar school.

Faith Schools 

Faith Schools follow the national curriculum, however can choose what they teach in religious studies. These schools can be run as maintained or academy settings and may have different admissions criteria and staffing policies to state schools, although anyone can apply for a place.

We have a number of faith schools in Hertfordshire including Church of England, Catholic, Jewish and Buddhist schools.

Special Schools

Special Education Needs & Disabilities (SEND) schools often offer an adapted version of the national curriculum to better serve their pupils. They can be run as maintained or academy schools. Schools with pupils aged 11 and older can specialise in 1 of the 4 areas of special educational needs, which are:

Communication and interaction Cognition and learning


Hertfordshire has a number of excellent special schools for all ages, including schools specialising in autism and a dedicated school for deaf children.

  • Social, emotional and mental health
  • Sensory and physical needs
Education Support Centres

These provide education for young people in KS3 and KS4 who are permanently excluded or at risk of permanent exclusion from their school.

Independent Schools

There are a number of popular independent schools in Hertfordshire, which charge tuition fees, rather than being funded by the government/local authority and can be privately owned or run by a charitable trust. As such they have more freedom to determine their own term dates, admission arrangements and curriculum.

Pupil Referral Units (PRUs)

Pupil Referral Units are a type of school which cater for children who aren’t able to attend a mainstream school and are also called Alternate Provision settings. Pupils are often referred if they need greater care and support than their school can provide. This might be due to:

Exclusion, or risk of exclusion, from a mainstream school An illness which makes mainstream school unsuitable Severe bullying Being a new starter who missed out on a school place Being pregnant/a young mother Experiencing emotional or behavioural difficulties.

Early Years Provision

In addition, Hertfordshire is home to a wide range of Early Years settings, ranging from settings as part of a primary school to privately run preschools and nurseries. Hertfordshire also has some dedicated Nurseries and Early Years Centres.  Please see our dedicated Early Years page for more information about the wealth of opportunities to work with children aged 0-5 in Hertfordshire.